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barney
October 4th, 2011, 12:25 PM
I have my 386 rig all decked out and ready for gaming. I currently have 16mb and have slots to allow up to 32mb. For dos gaming back in the 386 era days, is jumping to 32mb overkill or should i just stick with 16mb? Thanks.

DOS lives on!!
October 4th, 2011, 01:13 PM
What OS is it running? 32mb is plenty, and pretty much all DOS games will run fine on 16mb.

barney
October 4th, 2011, 01:16 PM
I have Dos 6.22 and Windows 3.11 installed but I will be doing all my gaming in DOS. So I take it 16mb will be plenty?

DOS lives on!!
October 4th, 2011, 01:20 PM
Yes, if 4mb can run Windows 95, then 16mb will definetely run DOS. I play DOS games on my Compaq Portable III, which only has 2.1mb.

krebizfan
October 4th, 2011, 01:23 PM
16MB should be more than plenty. Games that ran decently on a 386 and needed more than 4MB were rare. Even my Pentium era DOS games only need 16MB.

Unknown_K
October 4th, 2011, 03:05 PM
For 386 era games 4MB is plenty, the very last generation DOS games needed 16-32MB (and we are talking Pentium era there).

luckybob
October 4th, 2011, 07:00 PM
I run mine with 32mb. Mostly out of principle. I have it setup with a 8mb ram drive and i'm working on a system where it would copy teh game to ram then run it from there and always save the changes to hard disk when the game closes.

Compgeke
October 4th, 2011, 07:29 PM
That's plenty. I'm gaming on a 33 MHz 486 DX with 8 megs ram, but then again I'm running old IBM games from 1979-1988 on it which ran on less ram then that (what did the '82 computers ship with. 256 Kb?).

barney
October 5th, 2011, 02:03 AM
I run mine with 32mb. Mostly out of principle. I have it setup with a 8mb ram drive and i'm working on a system where it would copy teh game to ram then run it from there and always save the changes to hard disk when the game closes.

A Ram Drive Sounds interresting. I've heard of it but never attempted it. Is it pretty simple to do?

hargle
October 5th, 2011, 06:06 AM
That's plenty. I'm gaming on a 33 MHz 486 DX with 8 megs ram, but then again I'm running old IBM games from 1979-1988 on it which ran on less ram then that (what did the '82 computers ship with. 256 Kb?).
I'm really curious about what IBM games you're running from 1979-1980? The PC was released in 1981. ;)
All snarkyness aside, I am actually very interested in the earliest IBM games. I've started a nice archive of DOS/PC games, if anyone is interested in adding to it or obtaining it, PM me.

Great Hierophant
October 5th, 2011, 07:43 AM
A game like Quake would be happy to put most of that 32MB to use, but playing Quake on a 386 is like watching a slideshow.

luckybob
October 5th, 2011, 09:08 AM
A Ram Drive Sounds interesting. I've heard of it but never attempted it. Is it pretty simple to do?

If you are using dos 6.22, its as simple as adding a single line to the config.sys file. Like this:
C:\DOS\RAMDRIVE.SYS 8196 /A 512 256

its what I use for mine. I'm playing with batch files to copy the game to and from memory, with varying degrees of success, but overall most games seem to accept it. It works REALLY nice on Star trek 25th anniversary. Usually there is a 2-3 second load time between screens and using a ram drive it's reduced to practically a blink of an eye.

Chuck(G)
October 5th, 2011, 09:32 AM
If you've got HIMEM.SYS already loaded, XMSDSK (http://www.uwe-sieber.de/files/xmsdsk.zip) is probably a better choice as it uses no base RAM for operation.

Dave Farquhar
October 5th, 2011, 01:00 PM
I can vouch for XMSDSK. It works very well, and I utilized it extensively for several years. Plus you can make it use the top of memory, rather than the bottom, so it'll work with Windows 95/98 if you want. Not that you'd be running either of those on your 386, most likely.

But yeah, a ramdisk makes running DOS programs a lot faster. Stuff loads and saves instantly. And little, if any, 386-era (or even 486-era) DOS software required or even utilized more than about 4 MB of RAM. 4 MB was the standard for a long time, and most people who ran Windows 3.1 when it was mainstream ran it with 8 MB. On a strictly DOS machine, you'd be just fine leaving 4 MB free for programs and using whatever you have above that for a disk cache and a ramdisk.

barythrin
October 5th, 2011, 01:27 PM
I could be misspeaking here but in general older dos games won't acknowledge more than 640K of RAM anyway. Unless you're running a game that uses dos4gw to get around that boundry I don't think it made much of a difference how much RAM you had. I'm not sure which games used protected mode memory or were aware, I'm sure someone here knows of a list of them somewhere though.

krebizfan
October 5th, 2011, 01:51 PM
I could be misspeaking here but in general older dos games won't acknowledge more than 640K of RAM anyway. Unless you're running a game that uses dos4gw to get around that boundry I don't think it made much of a difference how much RAM you had. I'm not sure which games used protected mode memory or were aware, I'm sure someone here knows of a list of them somewhere though.

Fast 386 period includes titles like Wing Commander which needs at least 512kB EMS or X-Wing which wants 2 MB of EMS. 4 MB of extended memory with QEMM or EMM386 would handle all that and still leave a nice chunk of memory for a disk cache.

Maverick1978
October 5th, 2011, 09:02 PM
I've a 486 DX4-100, and have RAM maxed out at 128mb. Mainly just because I had the RAM laying around. It really serves no purpose other than to annoy me with a long count-up at boot time.

I will admit to a small, stupid, senseless grin everytime I see it hit 128mb though :)

But back in the day, my 486SX-25 ran everything I threw at it (for the era) on 6mb of RAM (max for my old Packard Bell computer).

Unknown_K
October 5th, 2011, 09:10 PM
Some 486 (heck even some Pentium ones) systems don't have enough cache for 128MB of RAM, so if the machine uses that uncached ram everything slows down.

luckybob
October 5th, 2011, 10:10 PM
thats why when I build a 486 machine, i'll be putting 1mb of cache in it. I have heard rumors of some 486 boards that will do 2mb, but i havent seen one.

Unknown_K
October 6th, 2011, 07:08 AM
thats why when I build a 486 machine, i'll be putting 1mb of cache in it. I have heard rumors of some 486 boards that will do 2mb, but i havent seen one.It could just be a chipset limitation, so even if you can do more cache it will not help.

barney
October 6th, 2011, 12:53 PM
I can vouch for XMSDSK. It works very well, and I utilized it extensively for several years. Plus you can make it use the top of memory, rather than the bottom, so it'll work with Windows 95/98 if you want. Not that you'd be running either of those on your 386, most likely.

But yeah, a ramdisk makes running DOS programs a lot faster. Stuff loads and saves instantly. And little, if any, 386-era (or even 486-era) DOS software required or even utilized more than about 4 MB of RAM. 4 MB was the standard for a long time, and most people who ran Windows 3.1 when it was mainstream ran it with 8 MB. On a strictly DOS machine, you'd be just fine leaving 4 MB free for programs and using whatever you have above that for a disk cache and a ramdisk.

How big of a XMSDISK should I set up on my computer? My system has 16MB RAM.

luckybob
October 6th, 2011, 03:06 PM
if it was up to me, I wouldn't go over 1/4 of your total ram. Therefore; 4mb is what I would do in your case.